United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein (Photo by AFP)

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein has censured Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his remarks against the international body.
Zeid at a speech in the Swiss city of Geneva accused President Duterte of lacking an understanding of UN rights institutions and international principles.
"The president of the Philippines' statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe," Zeid said. 
The criticism came after President Duterte called UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a "fool" and threatened that the Philippines could pull out of the organization in response to its condemnation of alleged extrajudicial killings in his anti-drug campaign.
Zeid also said Duterte’s war on drug undermines justice.
The UN is critical of Duterte's anti-drug campaign, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people.
Police say their forces have killed 1,506 people in anti-drug operations in only more than two months since Duterte took office. Another 1,715 were classified as "deaths under investigation," referring to suspected drug traffickers killed in suspicious circumstances.
The 71-year-old Philippine president has launched an unprecedented war on crime since taking office on June 30, warning the Philippines is in danger of becoming a "narco-state."
Last month, Duterte announced a "shoot-to-kill" order against drug dealers, saying, "This campaign (of) shoot-to-kill will remain until the last day of my term if I'm still alive by then."
On Wednesday, Philippine Ambassador to the UN Cecilia Rebong told the UN Human Rights Council that Duterte never empowered police to shoot to kill anyone, adding, "What he said was the police have the right to defend themselves when their lives are in danger."
Duterte's spokesman, Ernesto Abella, has also said that he did not tolerate extrajudicial killings but that "human rights cannot be used as an excuse to let the spread of drugs in the country run rampant." 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his speech during the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing Command anniversary celebrations at Villamor air base in Manila on September 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zeid urged the Philippines to invite a UN human rights expert to investigate the killings.
Reacting to the UN demand, Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Charles Jose, said UN rights experts had already "jumped to conclusions."
Last week, Duterte sparked another controversy after insulting US President Barack Obama.
Duterte has also recently called for the US to leave a southern Philippine military base, saying that his government sought to stop buying US military equipment.
“They have to go,” Duterte said in a speech during an oath-taking ceremony for new officials on Monday, adding, “I do not want a rift with America, but they have to go. It will just get more tense.”
Duterte further said the presence of US troops in the island of Mindanao could complicate Manila’s operations against Abu Sayyaf militant group, which is linked to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

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